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Environment, Energy & Transportation
Health of the physical environment directly impacts the short-term and long-term health of our citizens, communities, economy, and wildlife, and must be protected.
Fossil fuels are a finite and dwindling resource and we must swiftly transform our economy and technology to be based on renewable energy sources.
All countries and governments must respond swiftly and strongly to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to slow the rise in the global temperature and reduce the long-term effects of climate change, ocean acidification, and rising oceans levels.
Regulations must be used to ensure that the cost of environmental degradation be paid for by those who create the pollution or benefit from the action that caused the pollution.
Preservation of biological diversity, including endangered and threatened species, and restoration of previously extirpated species.
Place greater emphasis on public and non-motorized transportation modes, such as walking, bicycling, buses, ferries, and passenger rail service.
Protect the integrity and purity of Lake Whatcom, the drinking water supply for Bellingham.
2016 Policy Priorities
Federal Government: Tax carbon and tax methane in terms of CO2 equivalents, and use the revenues for two purposes: 1) Research and development of technologies that drastically reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses; 2) Fund Social Security and Medicare, while reducing the highly regressive payroll tax.
Washington State Legislature and Executive Branch: Adopt a comprehensive state-level climate policy that will meet the emissions targets set in RCW 70.235.020. Tax carbon and tax methane in terms of CO2 equivalents, using the revenues to fully fund K-12 education as mandated by the state constitution, and to finance research and development and subsidies for technologies that drastically reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses. Eliminate all electricity from coal, including electricity generated from coal in other states. Mandate LEED or equivalent standards for construction.
Federal Government: Maintain the ban on oil drilling and exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Whatcom County and city governments: Enact local laws, regulations, and zoning that enable local public and private initiatives to develop renewable energy sources. All new public buildings should follow LEED environmental standards.
Whatcom County, City of Bellingham: Convert to public power in order to promote higher use of renewable energy and smart grids.
Federal Government: Clean up and eliminate the Hanford Nuclear Reservation site as a repository of additional nuclear waste.
Washington State, British Columbia: Clean up the Salish Sea and waters emptying into it, and enact new laws or regulations as needed to eliminate pollution at the source.
Whatcom County: Comply with the Growth Management Act.
Washington State Legislature: Ban fracking.
Whatcom County, Cities of Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Blaine: Improve pedestrian and bicycle accessibility through multiple-use paths, bike lanes, traffic calming, and similar initiatives aimed at increasing the percentage of trips using muscle power instead of fossil fuels, and in so doing contributing to fitness and health.
Washington State, Amtrak: Improve passenger rail service between Whatcom County and points north and south, making service faster and more frequent, as a viable alternative to using and expanding I-5.
Washington State: Protect newly reestablished wolf populations.
National Park Service, Washington State: Restore a self-sustaining grizzly bear population in the North Cascades.
Washington State, Whatcom County: Limit urban sprawl and preserve farmland, wildlife habitat, and natural resources essential to our economic and environmental well being.
Washington State, Federal Government, Whatcom County: Protect our critical environmental areas, including wilderness areas, old growth forests, wildlife habitat areas and corridor, wetlands, streams, the Columbia River, Salish Sea, coastlines, and Pacific Ocean, through vigilant monitoring and planned growth management.
Washington State, Whatcom County: We oppose plans to ship coal to other nations.
Washington State Legislature: Develop a statewide rail plan in cooperation with local jurisdictions, Amtrak, and freight railroads to substitute grade separation for existing grade crossings; to account for future expansion of rail lines and rail traffic; to identify safety improvements to mitigate the shipment of hazardous cargoes; and to equitably share the costs of these changes.
Federal Government: Implement safety standards for rail tank cars carrying flammable liquids including crude oil and petroleum. Mandate replacement or retrofitting of existing tank cars to meet the new standards.
Washington State Legislature: Increase safeguards for oil spill prevention and response. Mandate tug escort requirements for oil tankers. Improve emergency response for oil transport by rail and pipeline. Close the oil tax loophole and assign the revenues to improved public service.
Federal Government: We oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and similar oil pipelines.
City of Bellingham: Make Food Plus and recycling mandatory for all food service businesses.
City of Bellingham and Whatcom County: Fund the Lake Whatcom invasive species inspection program entirely from registration fees.
City of Bellingham and Whatcom County: Ban all fuel motorized craft from Lake Whatcom, source of Bellingham’s drinking water supply.
City of Bellingham: Convert a downtown street into a pedestrian mall (as in Boulder CO, Burlington VT, Santa Monica CA).
City of Bellingham: Promote denser development as practiced in the “New Urbanism” school of city planning. Follow the Comprehensive Plan, including urban villages and the design standards. No more sprawl.
Port of Bellingham, City of Bellingham: Support a public waterfront.
Washington State, Whatcom County, City of Bellingham: commit to moving entirely to renewable energy in twenty years (as in San Diego). Divest from fossil fuels (as in Seattle and Portland).
Federal government, Washington State, Whatcom County, City of Bellingham: No new fossil fuel infrastructure.
WTA: We encourage expansion of bus routes to better access work sites, services, recreational areas (e.g. Artist Point) and expanded weekend service.
Port of Bellingham: Offer seasonal foot & bike ferry service to San Juan Islands from Bellingham Cruise Terminal.